Magazine article Techniques

Jobs for Renewing America

Magazine article Techniques

Jobs for Renewing America

Article excerpt

As America emerges from recession, certain industries are expected to grow particularly fast and will present many job opportunities for both young-people and career changers. This article looks at these high-opportunity industries and the kinds of jobs they are expected to open up. In the global economy of the 21st century, many low-skill jobs can be done either by computers or by workers in low-wage countries. The American industries that remain competitive will be those that focus on what we do better than most other countries: creativity and innovation. But these don't happen by accident. They rest on three pillars: a highly educated workforce, a healthy workforce, and an outstanding infrastructure. All three of these pillars have been threatened over the last few decades, but the government has targeted them all for renewal, and each is associated with industries that will provide many jobs in the coming decade.

Education

Education employed about 13.5 million workers in 2008, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the workforce will grow by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018. Some job opportunities for teachers, teacher aides, and educational administrators will result from a growing population of students at the elementary and middle school levels. The trend toward inclusion of disabled and ESL students will increase the demand for special education teachers. Postsecondary and adult educators will also be in high demand, partly because the new economy requires workers with higher skills, and partly because adults will be taking more classes for sell-enrichment.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In addition to these areas of growth, many existing positions will need to be filled as they are vacated by retiring baby boomers, especially librarians, educational administrators, and postsecondary teachers. The main force holding back expansion of education right now is budget constraints. Education received extra funding as part of the stimulus package, but it remains to be seen whether the federal government will break its habit of underfunding the educational improvements it mandates. Stale and local funding will certainly improve as the economy recovers, but their levels were inadequate in many states even before the recession. One factor limiting job opportunities for postsecondary and adult education is the expanded use of adjunct faculty. Full-time and tenured positions will not dominate as they did in the past. Nevertheless, on balance, the outlook for the education sector is very good.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Health Care

Opportunities for jobs in health care were excellent even before the 2010 reform bill was passed, largely because of the graying of the American population, and the outlook is even better now that health insurance coverage will expand. The reform bill docs not adequately address the problem of rising health care costs, but this actually works to the advantage of people who want to enter this field with less than a four-year college degree because it helps drive two major trends: the shift from inpatient to outpatient and home care, and the expanded use of lower-paid providers. These trends mean there will be many job openings for middle-skill workers such as dental hygienists and practical nurses, as well as for low-skill workers such as home health aides and physical therapist aides. Health care is one of the few industries where low-skill workers are not threatened because most of the work cannot readily be done by computers or offshore workers. The industry employed about 14.3 million workers in 2008 and is projected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Infrastructure

The third pillar of the innovative economy, infrastructure, is not an industry but supports many jobs, especially in construction. Like education, it gets much lip service but rarely gets funded adequately. However, the infrastructure did receive an infusion of funds from the stimulus package and will get additional funding from a National Infrastructure Bank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.